ABU DHABI // New roadside sensors will be installed in residential areas of the capital to detect cars that make too much noise.
The system consists of a sound meter linked to a sophisticated camera. If the noise level from a vehicle is excessive, the camera captures the licence plate and the driver may be fined.
The equipment was designed by Capt Ahmed Al Muhairi, head of safety at Abu Dhabi traffic police, and is thought to be the first of its kind.
Maj Gen Mohammed Al Romaithi, commander-in-chief of Abu Dhabi Police, said it would help to reduce noise pollution.
“Traffic noise is considered a health hazard in Dubai and Riyadh, with the traffic noise levels being 69 and 80 decibels,” said Salaheddine Bendak, associate professor inindustrial engineering at the University of Sharjah, who has studied street traffic noise in both cities.
“I think it’s fair to assume Abu Dhabi traffic noise levels are similar to those of Dubai and this is a big health issue that needs to be addressed.
“Such a new technology would be a step in the right direction.”
Glenn Havinoviski, a traffic expert in the United States, said the equipment would be useful if the camera and sound sensor were able to differentiate between closely spaced vehicles and determine which ones were too noisy.
He suggested that several sensors be installed on key routes, and should not be obviously visible. “Otherwise, it is possible for drivers to trick the system by maintaining their vehicles at lower volumes near sensor locations,” he said.
Vehicle noise is regulated in many countries. Most states in the US have local ordinances that limit noise levels to about 90 decibels. Vehicle noise in the UK is limited to 74 decibels, and Europe-wide legislation will reduce that to 68 decibels by 2026.
Abu Dhabi Police were unable to say on Tuesday what noise levels would be considered excessive, or what penalties offending drivers would face.